Waffles & Weed Part 2

This is my original Waffles & Weed post that somehow got archived (read lost) and just appeared in my feed so I thought I’d share. Tomorrow I am hoping to share something bigger 🙂 Enjoy!

Okay. So, some of you are scratching your heads right now. No, this post is not about stoner munchie options.

This is about the happiest place on earth, at least to me. I took the day off to head up to the Green Mountains for a day of skiing. Gray, overcast sky. Snow flurries drifting down. Parking in a non-parking space because the rest were taken.

Around twenty-eight degrees at the base.

To me, an almost perfect ski day. There is something magical about spending time with Mother Nature. Yesterday I hiked with a friend up to a ridge overlooking I-91. In the distance clouds reflected on a body of water which sat in the middle of two hills.

I slid up the trail of rock and mud just to get a glimpse, before we glided down with hopes of not wrecking a knee or twisting an ankle. There is a quietness to this experience.

Today was different.

The purr of the ski lift, my hubby by my side, we shivered as the wind cut through the snow-covered trees. The top was fogged in yet about a third of the way down one could see across the valley. Ski trails gleamed off neighboring mountains.

Today required much more concentration to avoid the ice patches and unpredictable munchkins who fly passed with no fear. Yet this too is relaxing. The mountain air slaps my face. The snow almost burns any exposed skin.

Back in my twenties, I would ski by myself with my walk man blasting a Grateful Dead bootleg or maybe a mixed tape with some John Hiatt and Cream. Today I hear music in my head. Slow Turning keeps popping in and out as I concentrate on not falling. (We witnessed over a half-dozen sled rides and conditions were decent. We hope none are serious injuries.) It doesn’t matter if I am going down a black diamond (too icy for those today) or a blue or green trail, my focus is the same.

We all need to find spaces that make us happy. Live music, mountain air, and dancing pretty much does it for me. So, what is yours?

(Now I know gentle reader, you are wondering where the weed and waffles come in to play. Yesterday the sweet smell drifted in the distance as we hiked. Today the same scent mixed with the waffle shack’s residue at the base of the mountain. I could go and stereotype here yet I just found it funny and think that it makes a great band name.  I would go see them!)


Observations In Church

First, please let me say, this is not a religious post.

When I was a child my mother would take me and my three siblings to mass each week. In church, she would instruct us to behave. Behaving meant that we were to sit quietly and follow the direction of the priest. When he directed the parish to stand, we stood. When he said kneel, we knelt. And of course, we he said pray, we bowed our heads and prayed.

This was our expected behavior.

Of course, my mother wasn’t beyond bribing us. One time, during silent prayer, one of my siblings asked, “Are we behaving enough to go to McDonalds?” adding in after the snickers of the parish, “now?”

Fast forward many years.  My husband, a middle school teacher, comes home from work and asked, “Did the Catholic church start allowing beverages during Mass?” I made some water and wine comment. “Because I was listening to some seventh graders today and this one girl told a story about being late to church because her mom stopped to get her a Frappuccino.” I shrugged.

“She didn’t get to drink it though because she spilled it in the pew.” I stared.

“Frappuccino in the pew?”

“Yeah – but she didn’t clean it up because, you know,” in his best teenage girl voice, “God forgives.”

I was stunned.

Fast forward to Christmas Mass a few weeks ago, a mother with two teenage daughters next to us sat on their phones prior to the start of the service. About fifteen minutes in, mom pulls out bottles of Gatorade and they sit and sip through a good part of the service.

Today three rows in front of me, a man in his 30’s drank a Monster, texted, and scrolled through Facebook while our minister spoke about the need for even for five minutes of silence during our hectic days.

I must ask, when did phones, and drinks in church become acceptable? Next thing you know, we will have wine bars in the back.

The human body can easily sustain itself for an hour, about the length of the religious services I am writing about, without food or beverage. The human mind should be able to rest for that length of time too.

The benefits of delayed gratification, especially with children, include learning patience and working for a reward. By not teaching this concept, getting what one wants immediately becomes a terrible habit that leads to a “me first” approach to life.

The day my brother spoke during silent prayer we may have still ended up at McDonald’s for dinner, although I can’t be certain. He broke proper decorum. And my mom isn’t a push over…then or now.

Missed Fortune

The best part of Chinese food for me is the fortune cookie, not eating it, just reading that little slip of paper inside. Since I have known my husband, he always opens his cookie and says, “Help! I am trapped inside a fortune cookie factory.” Cheesy, yet funny.

So last evening when I reached across my kitchen table, my stomach fluttered with anticipation. I pulled apart the cellophane wrapper only to have the cookie go flying through the air! My heart sank as it crash crunched on my kitchen floor at the same time my half Lab, half Beagle dive bombed on top.

The cookie didn’t have a chance. Neither did my fortune. The old girl is fast when it comes to food.

Fast forward twelve hours. I keep watching her butt so when the time comes, I’ll know what fate has instore for me. She has been fed, walked, and snacked so much this morning that if she was human she’d ask if she was dying.

Finally, the blessed moment arrived and sticking out of her pile, which we have to pick up anyway as to not upset the neighbors, is the small, telling piece of paper. I had plastic gloves ready. My eyes watered from the smell yet finally I could read the words of wisdom I have been waiting for.

Help! I am trapped inside a fortune cookie factory!

Stressed Out

I am one of those people who do not handle stress very well. My personality leans towards order and in my life, I tend to plan. So when the best laid plans go array, it is not a pretty sight.

Let me give a few examples from the past week:

On the last day of the out of state music festival we got in the car to come home and the Check Engine light comes on. I don’t know about you, yet for me, car and computer problems are the worst, probably because in both situations I am helpless. My mechanic gave a diagnosis then suggested calling the dealer to see if any parts are on recall. My mechanic also mentioned that the part in question is just needed for emissions and I can put off getting it fix until then, if I chose. The dealer told me if I didn’t fix it my car would blow up.

Full confession, I already had one engine blow up on me and I didn’t want to go through a repeat.

Strike one.

In addition to writing my books, I also teach. I have my semesters planned out and usually about a week or so prior to the start, I check my technology to make sure everything is working. After all, why give “the kids” the excuse that the links failed so they couldn’t do the assignment. One institution decided to upgrade their system. Classes start on Monday and I am still waiting to get my course shell together.

Strike two.

The frosting on the cake came this morning. I have been doing business with a company for almost three decades. I called with an issue and the customer “service” (I use the term loosely) representative told me “as a courtesy I will give you a one-time refund.” I responded, “As a courtesy? You need a better word choice because what you are doing is proving customer service AND as a loyal customer, this will exist as long as I chose to do business with your company.” The conversation deteriorated from there. Never get a customer service rep off their script. Usually they can’t handle the pressure of communicating.

Strike three.

We live in a stressful world. We are bombarded by media by the minute. People overall are more aggressive towards each other. In many cases folks are working 24/7 because they refuse to disconnect from the world.

I really don’t know the answer yet I do know that frustration should not be ouIMG_20160613_105421r normal state. I’m the weirdo who doesn’t drink alcohol, do drugs, or eat sugar. My only vice is to dance. After a very frustrating day, my husband advised we should go to one of the last summer on the beach concerts. My first thought, out of pure frustration, was that he just wanted to go and he couldn’t possibly relate to my situation to even suggest we go out when I obviously have so much to complete in so little time. (Yes, that is my inside voice. Annoying, huh?) We went, only to have the music of the Rivergods calm me down. Life had a much better view after listening to live music.

Maybe that is the key…just listen to the music.

Today I write this at place I bought my car. They are re-diagnosing the problem. I listened to Will Evans Band on the way and stayed calm until the idiot in the Jaguar almost side swiped me off the road. Then I turned off the CD, said a very bad word, and stewed the rest of my journey.

A light jazz plays in background. The music isn’t danceable, yet it is still calming. Maybe one of my stressers will disappear. If not, I just need to find more music.

Not Fiction

Chicken burning on the grill. The sound of angry horns reverberating from U.S. 1 as people maneuver the asshole minefield known as summer at the shoreline.

Yesterday on I-95 my husband and I were driving in the left hand lane when an S.U.V. from Jersey went flying past us on the left. Yeah – you read that right, she flew passed our car between us and the concrete barrier. She then proceeds to cross two lanes in order to come to a stop in the “real” breakdown lane. I can’t make this stuff up. Less than five minutes later she passed us again using a legitimate highway lane. I somehow need to incorporate this imbecile into one of my books yet I don’t want to promote bad behavior.

You think this a rarity yet unfortunately, it is not.

Today while my husband took a bike ride near the water, another woman, in different S.U.V. pulled across the street to park going the wrong way along the water. Hey, that’s fine. She could have issues walking and just wants the view. I get it. Except her next move was to almost take my hubby out while she drove on the wrong side on the street for the next half mile.Guam With Mom 193

In my little beach community, the kids are trained to yell a warning when a certain driver comes down the street. His dented car tells the story of unmovable objects getting in his way. Back in May his side mirror came within inches of hitting my friend’s arm as we walked towards the water.

My other neighbor, er character, drives his lawn mower around his yard after nine at night while blaring bad 80’s music. (Is there good 80’s music? Never mind). This may seem like no big deal except he is driving his lawn mower in circles singing at the top of his lungs. We get this live performance at least once a week during windows open season.

There are other examples, too many to share here. Use your imagination, unfortunately anything you can come up probably takes place somewhere. (Remember Jack-Ass TV?) And the world is full of crazy drivers.

The funny part of all this is people come to the ocean to relax. They want to realign their chi, get centered, kick back with a couple cold ones, which are needed from all the stress it took to get there in the first place.

Wondering what my point is? I’m not too sure. Unfortunately, I didn’t make any of this up…truth is more entertaining (more to come on this).

Guilford’s Mid-Life Crisis

Preliminary draft 1 of Uncle Neddy’s is complete! (Yay!) I use the word preliminary because of how I create. I get my first run through of story ideas down and then print out a hard copy. The hard copy then becomes a detailed outline. Is there a story here? What is the point? How can the plot be made more intricate? What additions/edits are needed to make this real?

My methods have been criticized in the past. If I only outlined first I would save time and energy yet to me, outlining takes away the spontaneous moves my character’s make. I must be a plotter because I know I don’t plan.

Currently there is a vision…so yay!

Unfortunately, I think I lost one of my favorite writing spots today. There seemed to be more folks hanging out, not that I can blame them. The Marketplace has a fantastic tea bar (coffee too), fresh made pastries, sandwiches, salads, and such, and I have yet to eat something that wasn’t fabulous!

I did hang out for a bit yet as the crowd of soon to be high school seniors grew, I needed to leave, although I did wait and listen to the mid-life crisis activities of apparently many Guilford parents. Kids qualified everything from buying a new car to joining a tennis club as a mid-life crisis. My favorite came when a young lady started to explain how her father wanted to go to a concert that she planned on attending with her friends. “I mean, like, really…get your own friends and music! Could you imagine running into your dad during the show. Oh my gosh – he’d probably start dancing or something…”

Yep – us old folks need to be banned from concerts.

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The “Wall Of Tea” at  Savvy Tea

So here I sit, in a new place, Savvy Tea. Savvy Tea has two types of Green Tea iced plus two others, one black, one non-caffeinated. There is a plethora of loose teas too and the owner offered to put any tea of my choice over ice! (And I think they are playing Jason Mraz!)

Definitely a score.

I should thank the kids in crisis the next time I’m at The Marketplace or I’ll just write at Savvy Tea when in the area. The tour continues….